Thursday, July 13, 2006

More efficient tires?

I was surfing the TerraPass blog (they sell carbon credits), when I ran across Tip # 2 for saving energy. Basically, the tip is to properly inflate your tires to maximize driving efficiency and safety. They peg the savings at ~$50/yr.

It is a great tip, but it begs the question, what is the proper inflation for your tires? If tires normally last about 4 years, then you could save $200/yr over the life of your tires (more if you keep your tires longer). This is not even quantifying the extra value from the added safety.

How hard would it be to engineer a gizmo/sensor that could measure the tire's internal air pressure and inflate/deflate the tire to optimize performance in whatever driving conditions one is in? (Yes, comment #8 was me :)

I'm guessing that such a device could be made & deployed for a few bucks a tire. Assuming a 100-300% margin for the tire company, a premium of $12-$15 per tire would allow a 1 yr simple payback (on fuel economy alone) for a customer buying 4 self-inflating/optimizing tires.
$8-$10 extra revenue per tire would have to be worth a bundle to the tire companies right?

Any tire engineers wanna collaborate with me?


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